How to Play Rook

By Contributor
Play Oh Hell

Rook is the name of a special deck of cards with which several various card games can be played. There are dozens of variations of Rook you can play with a set of Rook cards; but the most popular and most often-played is a partnership, bidding, trick-taking version of the game. Read on to learn more.

Sit around a square table so that the 2 sets of partners are seated across from each other. Remove the 2s, 3s and 4s from the deck so that you have a deck of 45 cards, including the Rook card. Shuffle the deck.

Deal out 10 cards to each player and place 5 cards face down in the center of the table. These 5 cards form the nest. You should place a nest card after each time around the table as you deal, until the nest reaches 5.

Look at your cards and try to determine how many points you think you and your partner will be able to acquire in that hand. There are 180 points total available in each hand and the point values are as follows: 1s are worth 15 points, 14s are worth 10 points, 10s are worth 10 points, 5s are worth 5 points and the Rook card is worth 20 points.

Begin the bidding with the player to the left of the dealer. He should say how many points he thinks he and his partner will score in the hand. The minimum bid is 100 and bids must increase in multiples of five as bidding continues clockwise around the table. If a player doesn't want to bid, she can say "pass." The bid is final once everyone else has passed.

Pick up the nest cards if you are the high bidder. Place them in your hand and choose five cards to create a new nest. Put the new nest cards face down in the center of the table. Choose the trump color by stating aloud the color of your choice.

Lead with the card of your choice if you are the player to the left of the high bidder. Each player must follow with a card of the same color if he can. If not, he can play any card. The Rook card acts as a trump card. The player who plays the highest card of the lead color or the highest trump card takes the trick.

Add up the points of each team's acquired tricks when the hand is over. If the bidding team does not reach their bid, they must forfeit their point earned in the hand and subtract their bid amount from their score.

Win the game by being the first team to reach 500 points.

Tip

Ones are higher in value than all cards except for the Rook card. If everyone passes in the bidding phase, a bid of 100 points is forced on the dealer. You can play this version of Rook with a standard deck of cards if you don't have an actual Rook deck. Use aces as 1s, kings as 14s and one joker card as the Rook. Remove the 2s, 3s and 4s from the deck, just as you do with a Rook deck.